In The News

Letter: Jon Crawford’s termination — What may have actually happened?

Napa Valley Register | April 29, 2022

This is in response to the Napa Valley Register article on Sunday, April 17, 2022, regarding Jon Crawford and his termination settlement. Let’s examine what may have actually happened. The Napa County supervisors may have wanted a different sheriff than Jon Crawford. Since they could only appoint a sheriff temporarily pending an election by the citizens of the Napa Valley, they may have wanted to have a clear path for their own selection. Perhaps they did not want to wait for mundane things like lawful, dutiful, democratic, honorable elections by the people of Napa Valley.

Could Crawford’s candidacy have interfered with their plan and their selection? Could they have thought Jon Crawford might have a good chance of winning the election? And in that case, might they have thought that influencing Robertson to fire him would lessen the risk of their candidate losing? If the answer to those questions is ‘Yes,’ then the stinking way — and I mean like a large sturgeon caught four weeks ago left in the hot Napa sun type of stink — might have made you ponder their arrogance and disregard for the elective process. Several issues need airing.

The first is that former Sheriff Robertson misrepresented Crawford’s termination. Robertson is quoted as saying: “The decision was actually Jon Crawford’s to leave the sheriff’s office,” but Crawford did not leave on his own volition as Robertson indicates. Crawford was terminated, and he received a letter stating that which the Register published.

The second is that Robertson deliberately used a strawman argument to describe an analogy that does not apply to this situation. He mentioned that “You can’t have the undersheriff running against the sheriff … It’s like the vice president running against the president; it doesn’t work.” The problem with this analogy is that the president is elected to begin with. The supervisors’ selection of Ortiz was a selection. Robertson erroneously conflates the issues as being the same. Of course, someone (anyone) can run against a temporarily-selected and appointed sheriff. In addition, the supervisors were actually the ones who created the two law officers running against each other by selecting Ortiz shortly after Crawford announced his candidacy.

The third issue is that Robertson indicates that “It comes down to his political ambition to be sheriff, which is troubling. And I’m glad I’ve made the decision that I made.” Why would it be “troubling“ to Robertson for the person who has been a successful undersheriff, running the day-to-day operations of the department for the past 3 years, to be running for sheriff? It would in fact be very reasonable and most likely that Crawford would be running for sheriff in this context. Moreover, the supervisors may not have been all “glad“ or happy or even satisfied with Robertson’s termination process, because just months later they gave Crawford a settlement of $500,000.

In conclusion, in reviewing what has happened to Jon Crawford over the past many months and given his three-year track record of actually running the Napa County Sheriff Department and seeing him stand up to some of the most powerful and influential people in the county and still keeping an unbowed, positive, professional, focused attitude and demeanor, voters should choose Jon Crawford, not just over Oscar Ortiz, but over anyone else.

John Prescott


View Original Publication: Napa Valley Register